Valuing the environment stands the test of time

Lendlease marks 70 years since the incorporation of Civil & Civic, the construction company created by Lendlease founder Dick Dusseldorp that cut its teeth on 200 prefabricated workers houses for Australia’s first renewable energy project, the Snowy Mountains Scheme in 1951.

  • 29 Aug 2021
  • by
  • Ben Owen

Seventy years ago, Lendlease founder Dick (‘Duss’) Dusseldorp had a vision to create a construction company that was guided by two simple principles – doing the right thing and leaving a positive legacy for future generations.  

From that vision, Civil & Civic was born in the Canberra region in 1951. 

The company’s first contract was signed between Duss and the Commissioner of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, Sir William Hudson, to build 200 prefabricated workers houses for the Snowy Mountains Scheme. 

For the past 70 years, we have been delivering landmark buildings and flagship projects for the communities of Canberra. We have built more than 150 Projects in every town centre in the Australian Capital Territory.

As early as 1973, Duss predicted the importance that social and environmental issues would have for organisations, coining the quote "Companies must start justifying their worth to society, with greater emphasis placed on environmental and social impact rather than straight economics”. The importance he placed on maintaining the triple bottom line has remained central to Lendlease’s strategic direction and helped forge a rich history of leadership in sustainability. 

Duss’s legacy continues to guide Lendlease’s approach sustainability. For example, in Canberra we have recently delivered Australian National University’s Marie Reay Teaching Centre using a timber structure, which resulted in a 40 per cent reduction in embodied carbon compared to typical construction methods. The Kambri Cultural Centre is another example delivered by the same partnership where construction of the culture and events space was built from prefinished, precast concrete with 40% less embodied carbon than typical concrete construction. 

Embracing low-carbon materials and prefabrication has resulted in leading sustainability credentials. Both buildings push the boundaries, from sustainability, materiality and technology to the multi-dimensional experience created within each space. 

Continuing with sustainability leadership, Lendlease is now a 1.5ºC aligned company and our focus on the environment and reducing our carbon footprint is stronger than ever. Our global #MissionZero commitment has set targets of achieving Net Zero Carbon by 2025 for Scope 1 and 2 emissions and Absolute Zero Carbon by 2040, including Scope 3 emissions, without the use of offsets. 

We recognise that our targets are ambitious by industry standards, and it’s not going to be easy to reach them. But as a major contributor of the built environment, we have a unique responsibility, and opportunity, to act. 

Tackling society’s important challenges was a well-recognised and celebrated hallmark of the ‘Duss way’ that we are proud to continue. 

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ACT Barracks at Cabramurra – the township was established using prefabricated houses as part of the Snowy Mountains Scheme and associated Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme.

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Civil & Civic construction workers